The real cost of the 2014 World Cup



Ally Chia – Mrs. Stewart 

The world’s eyes turn to Brazil as they host the 2014 World Cup, an event that has millions of people watching. The 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa, cost the hosting country close to $3.9 billion dollars. After the 2010 World Cup, the South African economy was expected to improve and more jobs were to be created; however the reality is that the South African economy has slowed since the World Cup four years ago. Brazil should have taken this as a warning as they planned a massive plan to accommodate the World Cup this year. Brazil has suspected to have spent over $14 billion dollars in order to prepare for this year’s World Cup. Brazil has also expected that there should be some economic benefits coming from these investments; however, even if there were some benefits they would not last that long, meaning that they would not be able to cover the overall cost of the World Cup. Has Brazil possibly dug themselves a hole they cannot get out of? Not only with the financial issues take its toll on the country, but it has also been causing unrest among the people who believe that those assets could have been used elsewhere.

The World Cup last 32 days, in those 32 days Brazil will see a massive increase in profits from food to airlines. Due to the amount of loyal football fans, the country will be swarmed with thousands of tourists, bringing lots of economic benefits. However, at the end of those 32 days, the temporary gains will end, and Brazil will have to deal with the aftermath of empty stadiums and unsettled citizens. Brazil spent a large portion of their money to build the stadiums, close to 11 billion dollars. Brazil expects that these would be a good investment in infrastructure which would benefit them in the future. Some of the stadiums though were built in such remote places that they most likely will only be used for this event. Even then, some of the stadiums will only be used about 2-4 times on average. Was this a good idea for Brazil? This is quite upsetting to the citizens of Brazil because they believe that instead of using their money to build useless stadiums, they should spend it on building and improving hospitals and schools. As the 2014 World Cup started, there were already protesters expressing their distress caused by the World Cup. Local economies had been disrupted, and air travel had become chaotic. Also, there had been worker protests demanding higher wages and benefits. The expected tourists and mega-sponsors will not be enough to settle the social unrest caused by the governments lavish spending. Is Brazil disregarding their people for the sake of accommodating the World Cup in the face of widespread poverty and corruption?

Brazil’s economy originally was not doing very well. Compared to the surrounding countries in South America, Brazil has one of the poorer economies since their economic freedom score is decreasing each year. Brazil currently has a decrease in labor freedom, monetary freedom, fiscal freedom, and trade freedom. All of these factors have led Brazil to have increasing issues with their economy and increased social tensions. The lack of economic freedom has undermined Brazil’s economy from making progress, which makes it even more difficult for the Brazilian economy to perform at its fullest potential. Even though overall in the past decade Brazil has made significant progress with one of the biggest economies in the world, government intervention has continued to cause the misallocation of capital, limit mobility, and fuel a sense of injustice among the people. With the economy in this state, Brazil was expected to accommodate not only the World Cup, but also the millions of fans coming to support their countries. This has made the people of Brazil skeptical that they can actually accomplish their huge projects, and still make some kind of profit from it. The conditions of the Brazilian government were not in good condition to begin with. The government riddled with corruption was undermining economic freedom and caused protest in 2013; all over the nation, the people were protesting for better public services. With the country like this, it is easy to understand that the people of Brazil would not trust their government with their very expensive projects for the World Cup. So the 1 million protesters took to the streets to protest the public’s money being spent on nice stadiums instead of healthcare, education, and security. The protests turned violent when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters, causing not only multiple injuries, but also people losing faith in their government. The people are faced with a government where the money does not go to the communities but to build lavish stadiums never to be used again.

Brazil had built 12 stadiums in order to hold the World Cup; these stadiums have been spread out across the country in various cities. Each of these new stadiums are capable of holding 40,000 – 70,000 people. What makes people so upset about the construction of these stadiums is that they will most likely never be able to be used at the capacity they were built for. They are seen as a waste considering that the locations of some these stadiums do not have any local teams that would use these stadiums. It is estimated that $11 billion dollars was spent do built these stadiums along with improved infrastructure in order to arrive at these sites. Infrastructure such as improved transportation and airports, this was supposed to be seen as a benefit of the World Cup. The people did not see this as good enough. All those billions of dollars were spent in the face of their poverty. Those billions of dollars could have been used to build the public services that some parts of Brazil were in desperate need for. The government is making it hard on themselves and their people. There is no way to progress to a happy medium for everyone this way.

Aristotle proclaims that the state’s purpose is to work towards the good of their people. It is the people that make up the state. So why is it that the Brazil is working against what is best for their people? What the people of Brazil need is better public services in order to improve their lives. By spending their money on the World Cup, they are neglecting the needs of their people. The government of Brazil is forgetting the true form of government by falling into corruption, and not abiding by the principles of justice. A government that disregards its countries common interest is by Aristotle’s standards defective and perverted. And this has proven to be true, a country’s government that is so corrupt that it would attack its own citizens for the sake of keeping the entertainment going own is surely corrupt. Brazil has already been found guilty multiple times for being corrupt by manipulating the system, taking bribes, pay-for-votes schemes. Aristotle says that a government that focuses on private interests is defective. The government is holding their people back from having a good life, therefore they have lost sight of their main purpose.

Brazil is facing a challenge both exciting and devastating. On one hand, they are the hosts of one of the world’s most exciting events. An event that the whole world joins together to celebrate, but at what cost? The people of Brazil are the ones who had to pay the high price for the World Cup. Instead of spending billions on what the public is in desperate need for, such as healthcare and education, they are using it to fund the large stadiums that will only be used for the World Cup. Based on the words of Aristotle, the government of Brazil is hindering the people of Brazil from having a good life; also, neglecting their purpose as a government to not fall into corruption by focusing on private interests. Hopefully Brazil will learn from these mistakes as they will go through this process again for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Works Cited

BBC. “2014 Fifa World Cup venue guide.” BBC Sport. (accessed June 28, 2014).

BBC.”Clashes at Brazil World Cup protest.” BBC News. (accessed June 25, 2014).

“Brazil.” Economy: Facts, Population, GDP, Inflation, Business, Trade, Corruption. (accessed June 28, 2014).

Once tipped as one of the brightest emerging economies. “World Cup won’t lift Brazil’s economy.” CNNMoney. (accessed June 27, 2014).

Wright, Chris. “Will Brazil’s World Cup Pay Off For Investors?.” Forbes. (accessed June 26, 2014).


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